Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cold Day, Hot Soup + a REVIEW

Though it is normally hot as the surface of the sun in my neck of the woods by July, it has been unseasonable cool for the last few days.  I had a basket of Yukon Gold potatoes that were reaching the end so I decided to make some tasty hot potato soup for the tater tot's lunch. 

FYI - I find these potatoes at my local 99cent Store for 3 pounds/.99, but you do need to paw through because I've found some bags have potatoes that have already spoiled.

MrsHashBrown's Potato Soup
4 cups homemade chicken stock (canned broth works too)
8 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & chopped
1 brown onion, chopped
Seasonings:  Salt, white pepper, dried parsley flakes, one clove of crushed garlic

Add stock, potatoes, and onion to pot and set heat to High.  Once mixture is boiling, stir in seasonings, lower heat to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Using immersion blender, blend until soup is smooth.  Alternately, you can let soup cool a bit and blend in food processor or regular blender - but you must let soup cool first if you use either of these appliances!!  Serve hot with garnish of your choice.  Serves four hearty helpings and you'll never want to buy instant potato soup again.

You can also serve this soup cold with a cup of cold milk added as a variation on vichyssoise.  I realize that vichyssoise typically calls for leeks and cream, but I cook with what I have on hand and I nearly never have leeks or cream.

Use whatever you like for garnishes, here are some ideas:  shredded cheese, chopped mushrooms, cooked & chopped bacon, chopped black olives, chopped hard boiled eggs, chopped dill pickle, fresh parsley, capers, whatever suits your fancy.  If I serve it hot, I like to top this soup with cooked & chopped bacon.  Served cold, I prefer chopped black olives or dill pickle.

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If you don't have an immersion blender, I recently purchased the KitchenAid one in the Amazon link above.  I've been using a cheap-o $15 one I got from the drugstore ten years ago and I cursed it every time I used it.  But I adore the new KitchenAid one!  Here are are my top ten reasons why I think it is awesome: 

1.  You can remove the bottom part for cleaning!  Really, this alone makes it worth the extra money to me.  You might even be able to put it in the dishwasher, but I don't generally put good sharp blades in the dishwasher.

2.  It is TALL!  I most often use immersion blenders to make family-sized quantities of gravy or blended soups.  I need a tall immersion blender.  This is probably five inches longer than my old one.  And, as we all know, bigger is better.  Right??

3.  The cord is LONG!  It is easily a foot longer than my old cord, which allows me greater freedom in the kitchen.  Huh, huh, huh, I said "long!"  Do be aware of where your children are when you use this away from the outlet though.  A tragedy could occur far too easily if one little hand grabbed the cord.

4.  Variable speed!  There are nine different speeds on this immersion blender.  Nine!  My old one had OFF/ON and this variable speed feature is so nice.  I like to start off slow and finish up whipped into a furious frenzy.  Um, we're still talking about cooking. . .right?

5.  It comes with a blending cup and lid.  Want a smoothie, but don't want to have to clean the big blender?  This is perfect for that application.

6.  The blades are SHARP!  Now in all fairness, my old one was cheap and, well, old so the blades are nowhere near as sharp as they are on the new one.  But I can't recall them ever being this sharp.  Ever.  Yes, I've already cut myself on it - don't ask.

7.  It comes in a variety of colors.  This isn't really a selling point to me, but it's nice to have options.  I'm impossibly easy to please; I chose white.

8.  I learned something new by reading the owner's manual.  Did you know that you could make whipped cream?  You know, whipped cream, that fluffy white stuff that you put on desserts.  I didn't.  But I'm going to try it now that I have a recipe to make it with my handy-dandy new immersion blender.  I bet you thought I'd make some sort of innuendo there, huh?

9.  Amazon has the best price I've seen for this particular immersion blender.  I paid $15 more at Macy's.  Good thing I was spending gift cards (from our wedding over five years ago - it would be fair to say that I don't exactly like to shop or spend money very often) or I'd be pretty ticked off. 

10.  You can quickly and easily whip up homemade baby food with an immersion blender.  No need to haul out the food processor when this does the job just as well with less hassle and clean up.

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